A survey was conducted of retail garden outlets in Georgia which consisted primarily of traditional garden centers, feed and seed stores, and hardware stores. Plant material, for all types of retail outlets, represented the largest portion of retail sales followed by chemicals and fertilizers. The average annual retail store sales for all products was $344K, with plant material representing $111K. The survey population represented about $47M in retail plant sales and did not include mass merchants or chain garden centers. Individual consumers (87%) were the primary customers as compared to landscapers or other types of customers. Most plant material was sourced in-state (67%) and only about 3% was produced by retailers. The primary factors identified as having a potential negative impact on plant material sales were adverse weather (26%), competition from mass merchants (23%) and a slowing economy (22%). Most garden centers are open year round (74.5%) as compared to feed and seed (7.1%) or hardware (16.7%) stores. The most common consumer complaints regarding plant quality were identified. Retailer experience with the Georgia Gold Medal new plant program suggests that these programs can create pull-through sales.

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Author notes

Supported in part by a grant from The Horticultural Research Institute, 1250 I Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005.

2Professor of Horticulture and Extension Nursery Specialist.

3Professor, Department of Statistical and Computer Services, Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton, GA 31793-0748.